Tax season is scary enough, but for Canadians who fall victim to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam, this time of year can be particularly challenging.
“While the CRA scam can strike anytime, it’s particularly active though tax season,” says Kevin Haarhoff, Senior Investigator of Corporate Security at Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union. “Now’s the time Canadians should be extra cautious.”
Know the signs and protect yourself
Scammers, who typically pose as an employee from the CRA, will target victims by phone, email or even text message.
“Once they’ve made contact, fraudsters will verbally threaten their victims, often invoking consequences as severe as an arrest to pressure them into paying a fabricated debt,” says Haarhoff.
The good news is that Canadians can easily protect themselves.
“Only check your CRA account, or contact the CRA using information from the official CRA website,” explains Haarhoff. “And follow the golden rules—never reveal personal information online or over the phone, and never send money to someone you don’t know.”
In a new twist, fraudsters are asking for payment in bitcoin or various gift cards—an obvious red flag as the CRA does not accept cryptocurrency or gift cards as payment.
If you feel you might have been scammed, report it to your local police department and financial institution immediately.
During the month of March, Envision Financial experts will provide information, tips and advice relating to fraud prevention and identity theft.
Coming up next week: Spot and safeguard against identity theft.